Mar 27 2012
News from today’s hearings on Obamacare at the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) indicate Obamacare took a pounding. CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin was especially shaken:
According to CNN’s legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, the arguments were “a train wreck for the Obama administration.”
“This law looks like it’s going to be struck down. I’m telling you, all of the predictions including mine that the justices would not have a problem with this law were wrong,” Toobin just said on CNN.
Toobin added that that the Obama administration’s lawyer, U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrelli, was unprepared for the attacks against the individual mandate.
“I don’t know why he had a bad day,” he said. “He is a good lawyer, he was a perfectly fine lawyer in the really sort of tangential argument yesterday. He was not ready for the answers for the conservative justices.”
That’s pretty bad news for Obamacare, and damn great news for America. Here’s another damning take:
Based on the questions posed to Paul Clement, the lead attorney for the state challengers to the individual mandate, it appears that the mandate is in trouble. It is not clear whether it will be struck down, but the questions that the conservative Justices posed to Clement were not nearly as pressing as the ones they asked to Solicitor General Verrilli. On top of that, Clement delivered a superb presentation in response to the more liberal Justices’ questions.
It looks like Team Obama was not prepared for a couple of things, including Justice Kennedy’s concerns on how Obamacare “changes the relationship between the individual and the government in a very fundamental way” – something Libertarian critics have been saying since day 1. It probably threw Verrelli off his game once he detected the tone of the room.
I have not seen this much hand wringing in quite a while, so it must have been something of a bomb shell.
Let’s hope it holds and Obamacare is thrown out (and ends this liberal, socialist madness for once and for all). Much more commentary over at Hot Air with Ed Morrissey.
Update 2: Oh wow – Verrelli admits not everyone will be required to comply with Obamacare!
However, in the Supreme Court on Monday, Justice Samuel Alito forced President Barack Obama’s solicitor general, Donald Verrilli, to admit that under Obamacare these free riders will not be eliminated despite the individual mandate.
For an elite group—including people eligible for Medicaid who don’t sign up for it and people whose health care expenses exceed 8 percent of their income—the Obamacare mandate is no mandate and the penalty is neither a penalty nor a tax because they are not required to pay it, period.
So Obamacare is not as they argue, something everyone MUST pay into in order to share the pain. Looks like that one admission could kill any reason for expanding government reach. Because once there are exceptions, the lobbyists run to Congress to expand the list of the exempted.
Update: Ouch! Some of the discussions were brutal:
USTICE SAMUEL ALITO: Do you think there is a, a market for burial services?
VERRILLI: For burial services?
JUSTICE ALITO: Yes.
VERRILLI: Yes, Justice Alito, I think there is.
JUSTICE ALITO: All right, suppose that you and I walked around downtown Washington at lunch hour and we found a couple of healthy young people and we stopped them and we said, “You know what you’re doing? You are financing your burial services right now because eventually you’re going to die, and somebody is going to have to pay for it, and if you don’t have burial insurance and you haven’t saved money for it, you’re going to shift the cost to somebody else.”
Isn’t that a very artificial way of talking about what somebody is doing?
JUSTICE KENNEDY: Could you help — help me with this. Assume for the moment — you may disagree. Assume for the moment that this is unprecedented, this is a step beyond what our cases have allowed, the affirmative duty to act to go into commerce. If that is so, do you not have a heavy burden of justification?
I understand that we must presume laws are constitutional, but, even so, when you are changing the relation of the individual to the government in this, what we can stipulate is, I think, a unique way, do you not have a heavy burden of justification to show authorization under the Constitution?
Looks like Verrelli got decimated.